Fear in her eyes on the first day of First Grade.
In my favorite Karate Kid movie, Mr. Miyagi says to Daniel, “Ok to lose to opponent. Must not lose to fear.” I was thinking about that today when I dropped my daughter off for the first day of First Grade in her new school. The night before she had said that she was nervous and afraid. I asked if her if Daddy ever feels nervous and afraid. She said, no, and I informed her that I feel nervous and afraid all the time. During that conversation I also told her that most likely, the other new first graders would be nervous and afraid as well because it would be a new school for them too.
As usual, I didn’t know what I was talking about.
When I brought her into the building this morning to line up for the first time, it turns out most of the kids in her class seemed to know each other. Apparently they had been in kindergarten together. So my daughter’s fears of being alone in a new place were rather justified. When it came time for me to say goodbye I hugged her and she didn’t want to let me go. Then the tears started… Only for a minute and then she regained her composure and made the best of situation.
She was fighting her fear.
She had no choice but to do so however. I was going to make her go to school no matter what her fears were. Driving home, it occurred to me that children are in an enviable position where they are forced to fight their fears. If I am afraid of something -let’s say its approaching a new client about getting work, there is no one to “make” me do it. If, like my daughter, I would rather do 100 other things than confront that fear, I am free to do so. Truth be told, not only am I free to cower in fear, no one would even know if I did. I don’t have a boss, and there isn’t anyone who is aware of every decision I make in my business from day to day.
So I fight my own fears as best I can from day to day, but I can’t help but envy my daughter who is at an age where she’s fortunate enough to have people “forcing” her to do what she needs to do, no matter how much she doesn’t want to do it.